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Wednesday, 11 January 2012 14:16

Syria: Assad to address 'internal issues'

The Syrian state media said that President Assad of Syria is to make a speech on "the internal issues and local and regional developments."

Assad, whose forces are accused of killing more than 5,000 people since the on-going uprising against his rule began in March, is coming under increasing scrutiny from neighbouring countries.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister, said on Monday that the situation in Syria was "heading towards a religious, sectarian, racial war, and this needs to be prevented".

Erdogan, who has called on Assad to step down and imposed sanctions on Damascus, did not say what Ankara would do to prevent the country from descending into civil war.

Meanwhile, Syrian opposition figures said on Monday that the Arab League mission, which began work two weeks ago to judge whether Damascus is complying with a peace plan, had so far succeeded only in giving Assad's government more time to violently crush its opponents.

Adnan Khodeir, head of the monitors' operations room in the Egyptian capital, said more Arab observers would reach Syria this week, bringing the team's strength to 200 from 165.

Russia and China have opposed any Security Council move on Syria, while Western powers critical of Assad have so far shown little appetite for Libya-style intervention in a country that sits in a far more combustible area of the Middle East.

Rami Abdulrahman, the founder of the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said keeping the Arab monitors in Syria without a substantial increase in their numbers would only "give the regime more time to deal with the Syrian revolution".

Arab League officials said the future of the monitoring mission, due to make a full report on January 19, depended on the Syrian government's commitment to ending the daily bloodshed.

Darul Ihsan Media Desk

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